Some effects (such as Favored Enemy, Turn Undead, etc) are dependent on the classifications of particular monsters. By my interpretation of the limitations on the Monster Manual's Werewolf (phrases such as "humanoid form only" or "wolf form only"), the Werewolf seems to encompass two or more potential creature classifications, with the label of the "hybrid form" left seemingly ambiguous.

The word usage in the Werewolf entry of the Monster Manual divides the lycanthrope's forms into Wolf, Humanoid, and Hybrid. This suggests that that the non-hybrid monster classes are Beast and Humanoid, respectively. But what monster type is the Hybrid? My gut says that it could be a monstrosity, but it is still arguably a humanoid, beast, or combination thereof.

To clarify my intent, I have ruled in my game that Lycanthropes are bound by the laws of the moon and cannot change shape at will. For the sake of encounter building, this means that I must design a Balverine-Esque "permanently hybrid" variation of the Werewolf—read: one that is always in hybrid form and does not transform. Since it represents neither the human form nor the beast form of the traditional werewolf, I'm not sure how I should classify it.

What should I rule the hybrid when I run it in my game? Is there a definitive answer to this question?

  • \$\begingroup\$ I don't understand. The sum of what makes a werewolf is Humanoid, Wolf, and Hybrid. How could I be more clear? Anyway, I spelled it out as well as I could; I hope it helps. \$\endgroup\$ – Robert Aug 9 '16 at 17:51
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    \$\begingroup\$ What's clear to one person is not clear to another; it's always better to make assumptions explicit instead of leaving them as assumptions. :) For all I knew, you'd read somewhere else that said “werewolves in wolf form are Beasts”, and I was failing to find it. Knowing what words are the actual source of the confusion definitely makes it easier to diagnose the confusion, and therefore to solve it. Thank you for the edit! \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Aug 9 '16 at 18:12
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    \$\begingroup\$ The reason it wasn't clear is that you mentioned favored enemy, which led me to believe that you were addressing an in game problem of whether or not a Ranger had to use extra favored enemy options to apply that skill to a lycanthrope. (Given that lycanthrope is not mentioned under that skill, this is a very good question, and one I had not considered asking before). \$\endgroup\$ – KorvinStarmast Aug 9 '16 at 18:49
  • \$\begingroup\$ Anyway, I have edited the question to clear up a few more things. \$\endgroup\$ – Robert Aug 11 '16 at 1:32

Werewolfs are always the same monster type, no matter of their shape. They are simply enough what the D&D5 Monster Manual or SRD tells:

Medium humanoid (human, shapechanger), chaotic evil (D&D5 SRD p.328, right column / 3rd party SRD port of it)

They have always been this same type since 3.5 when creature types were invented. For verification: The 3.5 SRD even lists it in every single statblock:

Size/Type: Medium Humanoid (Human, Shapechanger)

So in fact, no, it is never an animal, never an abomination and never a beast, in any of its shapes. It is always a humanoid with both it's original race and the Shapechanger subtypes. And yes, you could choose "humanoid (shapechanger)" as a favored enemy, just like you could choose vampire.

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    \$\begingroup\$ It may be worth noting, since you're comparing back to 3.x, that the 3.x were the first editions to codify creature type as a monster statistic. In other words, you're reaching back to 3.x because that's the first time "type" even is a stat, not because older editions differently typed lycanthropes. Then again, maybe that's just getting way too wordy =) \$\endgroup\$ – nitsua60 Aug 9 '16 at 19:17
  • \$\begingroup\$ @nitsua60 D&D 1e had "Giant Class" and "Demon" and "Devil" so the "type" philosophy wasn't new to 3.x. \$\endgroup\$ – KorvinStarmast Aug 9 '16 at 23:50
  • \$\begingroup\$ @KorvinStarmast true; I was thinking of the codification of "type" to the extent that all entries had one, and it was included in the stat-block. \$\endgroup\$ – nitsua60 Aug 10 '16 at 0:44
  • \$\begingroup\$ Yes, that is part of the D20/3.x revision to D&D. \$\endgroup\$ – KorvinStarmast Aug 10 '16 at 1:24

The stats remain the same except where notated in the entry that would include type.

Shapechanger. The werewolf can use its action to polymorph into a wolf-humanoid hybrid or into a wolf, or back into its true form, which is humanoid. Its statistics, other than its AC, are the same in each form. Any equipment it is wearing or carrying isn't transformed. It reverts to its true form if it dies. MM p211

This seems to be an ambiguity on Humanoid as type versus Humanoid as a description (2 arms, 2 legs, 1 head).

As far as favored enemy it would fall under the humanoid base that was afflicted by lycanthropy since it is not a type but a curse.

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    \$\begingroup\$ @KorvinStarmast: I would use "humanoid (shapechanger)" \$\endgroup\$ – Trish Aug 9 '16 at 18:55
  • \$\begingroup\$ "nor is a Druid Wildshaped into one" is incorrect, I believe. Druids wildshaped into beasts do inherit the creature type "Beast." See rpg.stackexchange.com/a/71315/23970. I'm not passing judgment on how that carries over to lycanthropy, as I haven't yet formed an opinion on how well the curse of lycanthropy maps to wildshaping, but the rules on wildshaping and creature type are pretty clear. \$\endgroup\$ – nitsua60 Aug 9 '16 at 18:56
  • \$\begingroup\$ Well, Sage Advice twitter is no authority, by its own admission. The reading in the linked question, OTOH, derives only from corebooks. \$\endgroup\$ – nitsua60 Aug 9 '16 at 19:19
  • \$\begingroup\$ I think this answer suffers by using Polymorph (the spell) when the lycanthrope uses polymorth (an innate ability). What the rules say about the former is not applicable to the latter. There is nothing in the description of the monster that indicates it changes type so it doesn't - what a spell someone else can cast does is irrelevant. \$\endgroup\$ – Dale M Aug 9 '16 at 20:35
  • \$\begingroup\$ @DaleM Thank you, because I went through the rest of the shapechangers on a possible rebuttal I noticed I missed key information in the Lycanthrope's entry. This pretty much sums it up. \$\endgroup\$ – Slagmoth Aug 9 '16 at 22:19

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